Residents wonder how illegal structures now being demolished were permitted to be built in the first place in Olakha

Thimphu Thromde is tearing down illegal constructions built on state land.

On 3 June, Thimphu Thromde demolished eight illegal structures built on state land in the Olakha Workshop area. According to Thromde, the proprietors and residents of the illegal structures were notified ahead of time to dismantle their buildings. Thromde had to demolish the structures as the they refused to follow the notifications and warnings.

The owners and residents are now questioning as how the construction of the buildings were allowed in the first place, and why it needed to be demolished now.

Kinley, 28, working in Olakha Workshop said, “How come these constructions were allowed to be built in the first place if it was to be removed now? Instead of letting them build the foundation, Thromde should not have allowed before they started the construction.”

He added that both the building owners and Thromde should be held accountable for the encroachment of state land and illegal construction plans approved by Thimphu Thromde.

“The thromde should also be held accountable because this would not have happened if it had not been permitted in the first place,” Kinley said.

Another resident, Sonam Dorji, 34, whose home was also wrecked by Thromde, claimed that the structure being demolished has caused them a great deal of hardship because he is unable to find an affordable accommodation.

“If it wasn’t allowed, Thromde should not have enabled us to construct the structure. They initially didn’t say anything, but after more than a year, they issued us with a notice. We’ve been struggling to find a home because rent for residences in Thimphu are exorbitant, and the money we have spent to create the prior structure is now completely wasted,” Sonam Dorji said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Survey Chief Engineer, Thromde, Sonam Tobgay said that the negligence of the landowner is to blame, as most of the land owners have not honoured their exact property boundary, as recorded in the lagthram.

He said that during the construction, measurements are visually based on conventional methods which results in discrepancies.

“Professional surveyors and engineers should be consulted. Landowners prefer to make maximum use of whatever land is available (both registered land and state land). Hence, using state land (which is not permitted) is not deemed as a serious offence by the defaulters,” he said.

He said that Thromde also needs to scrutinize construction, monitor rigorously and take stern action against the defaulters.

“Regulations must also provide alternatives to resolve encroachment issues through realignment, relocation, etc., whenever possible, and at the same time, take stern actions against such defaulters,” he said.

Thromde will take action against encroachment on state land and all such structures built on State Land will be demolished. As of today, there are about 45 encroachment cases, and upon verification, notifications have been issued to the defaulters.

According to Thromde, normally, in places where development (road, constructions and other services) is initiated, structures on state land are required to be removed.

“Therefore, Thromde takes priority action against defaulters who hinder the developmental plans which will benefit the general public,” he said.

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